For Millennial Lawyers Who Want to be Taken Seriously

Anne Loehr is an expert on Millennials in the workplace.  She has published some really good stuff about the Millennial Generation (aka Generation Y, those born between 1981 and 2001). Google her.  You will find that she does not see Millennials in the same light as others.  Specifically, she does not see them as entitled, lazy and high maintenance as a group.  Neither do I.

The key is getting to know Millennials and their values.  Anne writes and talks about how to speak to Millennials so that they will listen, recruiting and retaining Millennials, how to effectively manage and motivate Millennials, among other topics.  Check out her website  so that you know what the Baby Boomers and Generation X lawyers are saying about Generation Y lawyers — what you need to know to dispel the stereotypes and succeed in today’s workplace. You also could read my book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business/Aspen Publishers, 2015), particularly Chapter 5 on “A New Generation to Lead,” and Lauren Rikleen Stiller’s book, You Raised Us, Now Work With Us (American Bar Association, 2014) on the nuances behind the stereotypes that are attached to all three of the generations in the workplace today and the effect on team building.

In a new blog, Anne Loehr addresses the Millennials on how to be taken seriously at work.  Here are a few of the very thoughtful and helpful hints from Anne —  with a few of my own parenthetical thoughts:

  • Let people talk about themselves and listen (and, presumably, learn from them);
  • Pay attention to tone, grammar and rhetoric to communicate effectively (get rid of slang and useless emphasis and use exact vocabulary);
  • Be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world ( to demonstrate that you are curious and thoughtful about the world you live in ….  beyond Facebook and Twitter);
  • Be both humble and confident (listen carefully to know when to use which approach and when both approaches can work simultaneously);
  • Dress and act like a professional;
  • Be accountable and take responsibility for yourself and your actions; and
  • Challenge opinions respectfully.

Tune into Anne Loehr’s blog to find out more about how Millennials can be taken seriously and make good impressions at work.

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Thought For The Day

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.”

Wess Stafford

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Thought For The Day

“Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

John Lennon

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Thought For The Day

“I have a habit of letting my imagination run away from me.  It always comes back though … drenched with possibilities.”

Valaida Fullwood

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Thought For The Day

“Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it.”

Frances Wright

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Interview Time AGAIN

Here we go AGAIN!  It is interview time for many of you.  Some of you were lucky enough to get a job last Fall, but more of you are still looking.  That is the way it works in this new economy.

Here are some tips for interviewing that I think may be helpful to you.

  • STUDY THE WEBSITE of the firm or the agency or the non-profit you are interviewing with.  Do not ask questions about things that are obvious there.  It demonstrates a lack of preparedness.  However, you can ask for more information about something you read on the website;
  • Be confident. You have a lot to be confident about. Wear something that you know looks really good on you and makes you feel comfortable and self assured;
  • Get to the interview no more than 1o minutes early — even if you have to stand on the curb to kill time. 15 is too much, and the office staff does not know what to do with you that early and finds it annoying;
  • Don’t drink too much coffee, water, juice before the interview. Caffeine and sugar can make you nervous and all of it may result in too many bathroom breaks;
  • Have several questions prepared in advance so you can break the ice. For example look at the website bios. Usually you will find connectors: Schools, sports, former employers, etc.  Capitalize on them and try to weave them into the conversation;
  • Give some thought to where you think the business of the law firm or the public sector agency, non-profit, etc. is going and where you would like to fit in.  Be prepared to discuss it;
  • If you are asked about salary, respond that the experience of working at a firm like XYZ is most important to you.  You will get to salary in later discussions;
  • Ask what they like best about working at XYZ .  People love to talk about themselves;
  • Anticipate questions about your strengths and weaknesses and have your answers prepared;
  • Ask about how work is assigned to associates and what the work model of the firm is — the team approach or something else?;
  • If joining the firm will require you to relocate, express interest in the new city and enthusiasm about living there;
  • If you have work experience that you consider valuable to the firm, discuss it in general terms and be mindful of confidentiality;
  • Order something easy to eat for lunch. You will be talking while eating. (Spinach salad that gets stuck in your teeth is not a good choice and long pasta that you have to slurp is out of the question!);
  • Do not say anything negative about any professor or your law school. (I tanked an interview “in the day” when a sneaky associate at Big Law asked me about my least favorite professor, and I was candid in my answer.  The professor’s wife was a PARTNER in the law firm — but used a different name!  So, my study of the website had not disclosed the relationship.  Who knew????);
  • Take a copy of your resume and cover letter in case an interviewer has trouble located his or her copy;
  • Don’t ask each group of interviewers the same questions. They will compare notes afterwards;
  • Avoid discussing politics and, if it comes up, be neutral;
  • Be yourself. Enjoy the experience.  Approach each interview as the final dress rehearsal for opening night; and
  • Keep track of everyone you meet with, and send thank-you notes to them as followup.  Hand-written notes are not for everyone, but they can be mighty impressive!

Interviewing is stressful, but you get a real rush out of knowing that you “knocked” the interview.  Being prepared gives you the edge.

Break a leg!




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International Podcast Features Susan Smith Blakely

There is a lot of podcast and webcast activity at Best Friends at the Bar these days.  In addition to the PLI webcast that I am doing on March 30th for over 150 participants (with CLE credits available), I recently had the pleasure of taping an international podcast with host Caroline Dowd-Higgins, career and professional development author, speaker and influencer.  Her podcast series, “Your Working Life,” features “candid interviews with luminaries” in the career, leadership, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and wellness fields.  In addition to her talk show host role, Caroline is the Director of Career & Professional Development for the Indiana University Alumni Association, and I first met her when she was the Director of Career Services at Indiana University Law.  Caroline is a dynamic woman who works to empower women, and it was my pleasure to be her interview guest for a second time.

Here are some teasers on what we discussed:

  • How my  background and experience as a lawyer has informed the Best Friends at the Bar project;
  • How my passion and mission for the project developed and how Best Friends at the Bar has grown over the years to include a three-book series, a global program, and a valuable resource for women lawyers at all stages of their careers;
  • My vision for the future of the Best Friends at the Bar project; and
  • The role of men in the Best Friends at the Bar project.

The discussion about the role of men in the project is particularly important.   As long ago as 2007 when I started writing my first book, I knew that men had to be a part of the conversation about overcoming the challenges for women lawyers.  I understood that if you want to “talk truth to power,”  you must have power in the room.  Although that seemed so fundamental to me, it is not the approach that some of the women’s law organizations have taken over time.  My commitment to the critical role that male lawyers play in finding solutions for women lawyers was demonstrated by my selection of male contributors to my first book and continues to be a guiding principle in my work, including in the new book, Best Friends at the Bar:  Top-Down Leadership for Women Lawyers (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers 2015).

Caroline and I also talked about the role of male law firm leaders in the new Multi-session Program to Support Law Firm Women’s Initiatives, which I launched just days ago.  The first session is devoted to effective leadership for women lawyers — and that includes effective male leadership.   I am excited about the prospects of getting both male and female lawyers into the room together to discuss effective leadership and how negative leadership traits can have such a devastating effect on women and the unique values they bring to the workplace.  The research is likely to surprise a few people!

You can listen to the podcast by linking to one of the following:

Caroline’s website:

Caroline’s iTunes channel:


I hope you enjoy it!

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Thought For The Day

“Teach your children not what to be committed to, but the power and value of commitment.”

Margaret Mead

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